BOSTON – Conventional wisdom tells you that in dealing with Washington’s Bradley Beal, you have to stay attached to him as much as possible with your best defender.
While that certainly was part of Avery Bradley’s plan in dealing with the Wizards sharpshooter, he knew part of his success defensively would be to hit Beal with an explosive game offensively.
And it was Bradley’s success at both ends of the floor that helped set the tone in Boston’s 110-102 victory.
- Highlights: Boston Celtics 110, Washington Wizards 102
- Blakely: Victory over Wizards is much more than 'just another win' for Celtics
- Rozier-Jennings dust-up provides spark for Celtics in win vs. Wizards
- Isaiah Thomas on Wizards: 'Those guys don't like us, we don't like them'
- Big second quarter propels Celtics to 110-102 win over Wizards
Bradley had 20 points for Boston (45-26) which now leads the Wizards (42-28) by 2.5 games for the No. 2 seed in the East and trail East-leading Cleveland (46-23) by 2.0 games.
Although this was the fourth and final regular season meeting between these two, Bradley had missed the two previous games due to an Achilles injury.
“He was motivated; you could tell in his eye he wanted this game,” said Boston’s Isaiah Thomas. “He was ready and he was the spark for us at the beginning.”
Bradley scored Boston’s first five points, and seven the team’s first 14 before finishing with an 11-point first quarter.
A First Team All-NBA Defensive Team member last season, Bradley continues to prove that there’s more to his game than just locking up players defensively.
“Avery, obviously, is a leader in that (playing great defense),” Stevens said. “And then he came out and made those first few shots, made some really tough shots off screens, and as much as you have to chase Brad (Beal) around we wanted to run our guys around a little bit too and I thought he (Bradley) set a good tone for us.”
Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds from Monday’s game between the Boston Celtics and the Washington Wizards.
He didn’t have the big fourth quarter scoring the ball that fans are accustomed to, but Thomas did plenty of good things in his return to the Celtics lineup after missing two games with a knee injury. He had a game-high 25 points with four rebounds, four assists and two steals.
The plan was to make him a volume scorer, which is exactly what the Celtics did. He finished with a team-high 19 points but did so on 6-for-15 shooting along with five turnovers.
Arguably the biggest difference-maker of the game, Bradley’s ability to score right out the gates coupled with his rock-solid defense propelled Boston to one of their biggest wins of the season. Bradley had 20 points on 8-f0r-16 shooting with nine rebounds and four assists.
Normally an area of concern, Boston absolutely dominated the Wizards like we’ve seldom seen them do against any opponent. Boston out-rebounded Washington 54-39 but just as significant, hauled in a season-high 20 offensive rebounds. It was the first time since Game 2 of their 2009 first-round playoff series against Chicago that the Celtics grabbed 20 or more rebounds and came away with a win.
On a night when so many Wizards struggled, Jennings was one of the few positives. He finished with 10 points to go with seven assists off the bench.
Yet another strong night for Crowder, his defense and overall presence were critical to Boston’s big win. He had 16 points and nine rebounds in addition to tallying three steals with one blocked shot.
He continues to provide a little bit of everything the Celtics need, stuffing the stat sheet in several categories. He had 16 points on 6-for-11 shooting, along with grabbing nine rebounds and dishing out five assists to go with a pair of blocked shots.
Tyler Zeller didn’t play much, but his physical play seemingly set the tone for a monster night rebounding for the Celtics. Kelly Olynyk had a near double-double of nine points and a season-high 11 rebounds. And while Marcus Smart was visibly frustrated by some of the calls and non-calls by the referees, he came up with one of the biggest plays – a steal in the fourth quarter – that was critical to the win. Essentially every player head coach Brad Stevens turned to off the bench, came up and delivered in some fashion.
He never got into any kind of flow all game, seemingly alternating between miscues and missed shots. He finished with 16 points on 4-for-10 shooting. And while he had a team-high eight assists, he also turned the ball over five times.